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Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum has amassed one of the largest and most diverse collections in the United States. Its vast holdings range from the ancient to the contemporary and encompass virtually all the world's principal cultures, reflecting the institution's long history of acquiring Western and non-Western art.
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Brooklyn Museum
by William Glackens
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Is this a modern Eve about to take a bite of the apple? William Glackens certainly counted on his viewers to make that association. Moreover, he offered a fresh American update on the subject of the nude studio model, paraphrasing one of France's most famous paintings, Edouard Manet's Olympia.Object metadata can change over time, please check the Brooklyn Museum object record for the latest information.
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, Asian Art
Brooklyn Museum
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The poet, printmaker, and painter William Blake combined his literary and graphic skills in four provocative and disturbing images devoted to the Great Red Dragon. For this series—produced for his most faithful patron Thomas Butts, a government clerk—Blake drew on chapters 12 and 13 of the Book of Revelations, an apocalyptic text akin to the artist's own prophetic writings.In this narrative the Dragon, identified with Satan, schemes to seize the soon-to-be born Redeemer from his mother....
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Edgar Degas
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Embracing the Impressionist credo of painting modern life, Degas concentrated on the daily rituals of urban dwellers. In this image, typical of his bather scenes, Degas captures his subject from behind and in motion as she vigorously towels herself after a bath. Bright light pours in from the window, highlighting her left breast but otherwise casting her body in shadow and limiting clear definition of both facial and bodily features. This composition thus denies much of the erotic charge...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by James Tissot
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Kurtz
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Auguste Rodin
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Albert Sterner
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Mahonri M. Young
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by James Tissot
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Kahlil Gibran
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Charles Willson Peale
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John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, commissioned this portrait of George Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in order to flatter and reward him for liberating Boston (visible in the background) from the British in March 1776. Hancock wrote to Washington, "I beg, Sir, you will be pleased to accept my heartfelt thanks for the attention you have showed to my property in that town." Washington reluctantly accepted Hancock's invitation to sit for the...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Thomas Moran
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Watercolor was the ideal medium for the late nineteenth-century landscape painter Thomas Moran, a follower of the British painter J. M. W. Turner who was drawn to dramatic natural features in places such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. In this view of the lagoon and central buildings constructed for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893—an extravagant, nationalistic salute to the westward advance of “civilization”—Moran bathed the scene in the glowing colors of a vivid...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Utagawa Kuniyoshi
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Known by many names (including Kintarō, or Golden Boy), Sakata Kaidōmaru was an eleventh-century warrior of legendary strength who is said to have displayed great prowess as a fighter even in his early childhood. This celebrated image shows the well-muscled boy wrestling a giant carp under a waterfall. Kuniyoshi adds considerable depth and energy to the scene through his innovative depictions of a transparent stream of water and scattering white spray.Object metadata can change over time,...
Topics: art, Asian Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Abbas Al-Musavi
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This painting commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad and the third imam, or leader, of the Shiʿa Muslims. Husayn was killed by the forces of the Umayyad caliph Yazid I (r. 680–683) in the desert of Karbala in central Iraq in 680 c.e. This battle emphasizes the divide between the Sunni and Shiʿa branches of Islam; Husayn led a resistance against what the Shiʿa Muslims believed was the Umayyads’ illegitimate rule. The focus of this painting is...
Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
by James Tissot
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Bouguereau
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An academic painter who had achieved great success in the Paris Salon with mythological, historical, and religious subjects, Bouguereau later turned to genre scenes such as this image of a young woman caring for her younger brother. Although the figures are defined as siblings in the title, Bouguereau evokes the Madonna and Child with a tender pose—much like that seen in the altarpieces on the opposite wall—and the Catholic rosary beads in the child’s hand. Moreover, scholars have linked...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
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In the most memorable, and even notorious, of Tissot’s images, Christ looks out at the crowd of spectators arrayed before him: Mary Magdalene, in the immediate foreground, with her long red tresses swirling down her back, kneels at his feet, which are clearly visible at the bottom center of the composition. Beyond her, the Virgin Mary clutches her breast, while John the Evangelist looks up with hands clasped. The artist here adopts the point of view of Christ himself. Few painters have...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Sultan 'Ali Mashhadi; Persian
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The most highly revered artistic form in the Islamic world is calligraphy. The high regard for it stems from the great significance of the word in Islam, specifically from the central importance of the Qur'an, which for Muslims is the direct word of God revealed to mankind. From the earliest times, calligraphers in the Islamic world strove to create beautiful forms, and this often led to great inventiveness in displaying the art of the word.This page is from one of the best-known compendia of...
Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
by John J. Audubon
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Eastman Johnson
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Glackens
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For William Glackens, who began his career as a quick-sketch newspaper illustrator, drawing was a nearly automatic activity, rapidly executed and broadly suggestive. For a large and ambitious studio nude such as Girl with Apple, he completed numerous preparatory sketches. Before executing this relatively “finished” version in pastel, Glackens made pencil sketches, which are scribbly in character. They demonstrate his method of working out a pose by drawing limbs in a sequence of positions...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Edward Hicks
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From about 1820, the self-taught artist and Quaker preacher Edward Hicks painted approximately sixty versions of The Peaceable Kingdom in an effort to reconcile his artistic vocation with his ardent faith. The subject is based on verses from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah that describe an Edenic world in which predatory animals (a leopard, lion, and bear) coexist in harmony with meeker creatures (a lamb, kid, and calf) and children. In the background, the earthly realization of this prophecy...
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Gilbert Stuart
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Gilbert Stuart portrayed George Washington several times in this stately, full-length portrait format known as the Grand Manner, initially reserved for royalty. In this case, he used European models for the setting and figure, and then adapted the iconography for an American subject. Standing in the classical pose of an orator (with arm extended), Washington appears in formal civilian clothing, but holds a sword that recalls his military achievements and suggests the might of his presidency....
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Édouard Manet
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Merritt Chase
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Asian textiles and Japanese kimonos were highly popular as decorations and costumes in late nineteenth-century European and American interiors. William Merritt Chase, whose famous New York studio was filled with a vast array of art objects including textiles, ceramics, wood carvings, and metalwork from all over the world, joined in the growing vogue for Japanese costume subjects with a number of paintings of female models robed in beautifully patterned kimonos. The popularity of such images was...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Tristram J. Ellis
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
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This is one of several paintings In which Thomas Eakins provided an imaginary glimpse of the Philadelphia sculptor William Rush carving The Water Nymph and Bittern, which was installed in PhIladelphia's Centre Square In 1809. Although Eakins's initial motives came from a desire to restore Rush's name to the history of American art, his primary focus on the back of a strongly highlighted nude model also calls into play issues about traditional methods of art instruction. Rush was a founder of...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Max Weber
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In 1912 Max Weber wrote of his creative process: "We shall not be bound by visible objects—only the essence we as humans get out of them. . . . Memories are visible things." Weber saw a performance of the famous Russian Ballet in New York in 1914 and shortly afterward executed a watercolor recording his impressions of the dancers. Two years later he painted this oil, which shows the crystallization of this memory in even greater abstraction.Object metadata can change over time,...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Muhammad Amir Salim Dehlawi
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Topic: art
Brooklyn Museum
by Arthur B. Davies
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The dancelike positions of the three nude women in this fanciful landscape recall the choreography of the famed Isadora Duncan, who had just returned to the United States in 1908 to promote her innovative dance movements, based on a free-form style that she attributed to the ancient Greeks. The painting most likely grew out of Davies' familiarity with Duncan's theory that the essence of dance technique rested in natural breathing paralleling the rhythms of the ocean tides--hence the painting's...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Albert Bierstadt
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In 1863, Albert Bierstadt made an arduous expedition to Colorado in order to gather studies of the region for this monumental painting, executed three years later in his New York studio. For the final canvas, he exercised artistic license—rearranging some landmarks and exaggerating the scale of others—to maximize the visual interest of this Rocky Mountain landscape. The picture toured the country on a yearlong exhibition and thrilled audiences with its dual effects of sublime grandeur and...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Etty
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Best known for allegorical and mythological scenes that allowed him to demonstrate his great facility for rendering the nude figure, Etty here offers a subject that is more informal in tone if not in finish. Three female bathers gather around a boat moored on a riverbank, while a fourth clothed figure sits inside the barge. Etty painted several such scenes of summertime bathing during his career, most frequently calling on the landscape of the countryside of his native York, England.Object...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Lovis Corinth
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Eastman Johnson
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During and even immediately after the Civil War, very few American artists undertook direct representations of the catastrophic conflict or of the experience of the enslaved African Americans whose plight it decided. One of the most remarkable exceptions is this painting by the leading mid-century figure painter Eastman Johnson, who claimed to have based the subject on an actual event he had witnessed near the Manassas, Virginia, battlefield on March 2, 1862, just days before the Confederate...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Louis Michel Eilshemius
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by George Bradford Brainerd
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George Brainerd, a lifelong Brooklynite, produced a total of 2,500 photographs before his early death at age 42 in 1887. The majority of these were images of Brooklyn, a vast documentation of the urban landscape—dams and mills, bridges and train depots, engine houses and pumping stations—but also, especially after 1880, images of city dwellers and street scenes. This photograph, from about 1885, shows Brainerd’s attention to composition and captures the leisurely atmosphere at Coney...
Topics: art, Photography
Brooklyn Museum
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Throughout the embattled environment of the colonial Americas—above and below the equator—portraits served as potent symbols of political and social power. The Brooklyn Museum's strong holdings of Spanish colonial art afford an unusual opportunity to study American colonial portraiture on the broadest possible level. Portraits of the historical kings of the Inca dynasty of Peru—including this eighteenth-century example—were a type that originated in the context of the vying powers of...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Rudolph Cronau
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On special assignment for a German newspaper, Rudolph Cronau came to America to document its cities, frontier lands, and Native American populations for curious European audiences. His training at the Düsseldorf art academy, which emphasized careful draftsmanship, is clearly evident in this romanticized vista of Brooklyn’s famous Green-Wood Cemetery at sunset. Conceived in tones of black and white for reproduction, this watercolor features the Gothic-style entrance arch at center, the...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Ernest Lawson
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The broken brushwork and blond tonalities that describe this idyllic sunlit scene are reminders of Ernest Lawson's early training with two American Impressionists, John H. Twachtman and J. Alden Weir, and his later contact with the French Impressionist Alfred Sisley. The theme of boys swimming was popular during the decades surrounding the turn of the centuryObject metadata can change over time, please check the Brooklyn Museum object record for the latest information.
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by James Tissot
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With this scene, Tissot continues to explore Mary’s role in the “Divine plan,” as the artist called the biblical narrative. Mary prays or “sings” her praise of God for giving her a part to play in humankind’s redemption. While The Annunciation underscored the Virgin’s humble station and modesty, here she stands with head and hands raised to the sky as she utters what Tissot characterizes as a “quiet, reverent, whispered expression of a spirit moved to its very depths.” Her...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Albrecht Dürer
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
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The Hamzanama recounts the picturesque exploits of Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. The Mughal emperor Akbar (ruled 1556–1605) ordered his artists to prepare an illustrated copy of the Hamzanama on a scale never seen before: 1,400 paintings on sheets of paper backed with cloth. Literary sources record that though more than fifty painters busied themselves with the colossal undertaking, it took fifteen years to complete. Four of the folios are held by the Brooklyn Museum.This painting...
Topics: art, Asian Art
Brooklyn Museum
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The town of Pomata, situated above Lake Titicaca in the highlands of Peru, was once a popular Christian pilgrimage shrine. In this painting, Our Lady of Pomata is depicted as a statue--a carved figure crowned and dressed in lavish garments and adorned with precious materials--that stood on the side altar of the parish church. This type of iconic image, found throughout Latin America, is known as a statue painting. A rosary encircles the hands of the Virgin, who holds a tiny doll-like Child...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by William Merritt Chase
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In all likelihood, the scimitar examined by the powerful black man shown here belonged to the artist. Indeed, what we see is a model posing among William Merritt Chase's carefully arranged studio props. This is probably the painting that Chase was completing in Venice for a German client immediately before he returned to the United States. One of the most ambitious undertakings of his early career, The Moorish Warrior demonstrates Chase's desire to participate in the international trend for...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by George Benjamin Luks
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One of the dynamic, young group of American Realists known as the Ashcan School, George Luks was a tough character who in art and life embraced the gritty side of turn-of-the-century New York. In this important early work, Luks pictured the street life of one of the Lower East Side's teeming immigrant neighborhoods. By 1905, Hester Street had become home to a recently arrived population of Eastern European Jews and the site of a daily open-air market where thousands shopped for their...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Winslow Homer
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A young woman sounds the call for the noonday meal for the men laboring in the distant field. The wind pulls her skirts outward behind her, investing her form with an almost heroic, monumental quality. An identically posed figure appears in several of Homer’s oil versions of the subject from the 1870s, all of which reflect his concerns with depicting the wholesomeness of American farm life. The engraving provides greater narrative detail than the oils do, perhaps reflecting Homer’s interest...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Irving Underhill
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Frederic Thompson and Elmer Dundy, with experience of running concessions at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and other fairs, had brought their successful simulation of a spaceship ride, A Trip to the Moon, to Steeplechase in 1902. The following year they decided to open their own amusement venture, Luna Park, on the site of Boyton’s failing Sea Lion Park, on Surf Avenue between West Eighth and West Twelfth streets. Two hundred fifty thousand electric lights turned night into day,...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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During the Napoleonic era (1799–1814), war became an ever-present spectacle in Europe. For Géricault, such subject matter proved irresistible, particularly the combination of powerful horses and glittering uniforms. In this final study for an 1814 Salon entry, Géricault makes a significant departure from the academic standard for battle paintings by concentrating on the ambiguous actions of a single, anonymous soldier (who mysteriously lacks a visible wound, despite the work’s title) and...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Winslow Homer; William H. Redding
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This illustration was accompanied by a comment on the vicissitudes of bathing costumes: Nothing could be prettier or more bewitching than the sight of a charming young woman in an elegant and tasteful bathing costume, as she trips over the sand from the dressing-house down to the water’s edge. . . . But coming out! . . . Can it be that this dripping, bedraggled, forlorn object who comes slowly from the water is the nymph-like creature who excited such admiration a few minutes ago? What a...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Muhammad Rafi`
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Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
by Breading G. Way
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Topics: art, Photography
Object metadata can change over time, please check the Brooklyn Museum object record for the latest information.
Topics: art, Asian Art
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Brooklyn Museum
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As earlier temptation episodes foretold, the devil left Jesus “for a season” but reappeared time and again to test him in the form of possessed outcasts. Here, in a barren landscape pocked with caves and tombs—a terrain familiar from Tissot’s sketches of the Valley of Hinnom—Jesus encounters two men afflicted with demons, while a herd of swine wanders on the horizon. Tissot notes that the Gentiles, sometimes in the employ of Jews, tended swine in these lands, despite Jewish tradition,...
Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Brooklyn Museum
by Mary Cassatt
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Mary Cassatt, who settled in Paris in 1874, was the only American to be invited to exhibit with the French Impressionists. She met Edgar Degas in 1877, and although she was not officially his student, his art had a lasting effect on the development of her own. His influence may be felt in the radical angles and eccentric composition of Mother and Child, a painting that also employs the mirror motif often found in the art of Edouard Manet, whose work Cassatt also admired. Her appreciation of...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Mughal; Indian
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Court women were a favorite subject in Indian painting, although few images of upper-class women are actual portrait likenesses. The zenana (women's area of the palace) was the stuff of fantasy for the male artists and patrons of painting: those not privileged to enter the zenana speculated about the delights to be found inside, while the husbands—who were frequently away on military campaigns—waxed nostalgic about the happy hours they had spent there. Images of the zenana usually show the...
Topics: art, Asian Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Katsushika Hokusai
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Brooklyn Museum
by Asher B. Durand
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This quiet, enclosed landscape subject, very likely set in the Catskills or Adirondacks, represents the direction in which Asher B. Durand had moved American landscape art. After devoting his attention to expansive views that often included historical or moralizing narratives, by the 1850s he began to record in fine detail more intimate settings in which there was no palpable human presence. This very contained composition, although completed in the studio, is close in spirit to the highly...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Although Tissot gave exacting attention to archaeological detail, providing what he intended as historically accurate backdrops for the narrative of Christ’s life, he also pursued the mystical. At the pool known as the Piscina Probatica, the infirm gather around the edge of the water in the hope of being healed. According to John, an angel stirs the pool, activating its curative powers; the next person to step into the water would be delivered from affliction. Tissot’s image features two...
Topics: art, European Art
The Haft Paykar, or Seven Portraits, is the fourth of the five narrative poems of the Khamsa of Nizami, and tells the story of the legendary fifth-century Sasanian king Bahram Gur. The tale is believed to contain the poet’s own views on love and emphasizes the importance of self-knowledge. Raised at the court of an Arab king, Bahram Gur one day found his way into a locked palace room, where he encountered seven portraits of seven princesses representing the seven climes of antiquity. After...
Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
by Edwin Howland Blashfield
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Blashfield made this drawing of the colonnaded forecourt of an ancient temple while sailing down the Nile with his father-in-law, Charles Edwin Wilbour (1833–1896), a noted Egyptologist and benefactor of the Brooklyn Museum’s world-class Egyptian collections. Catering to Americans’ taste for “exotic” subject matter, Blashfield used his Egyptian sketches to illustrate articles he and his wife wrote for the popular Scribner’s Magazine in 1891–92.Object metadata can change over time,...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Max Liebermann
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Topics: art, European Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Sanford Robinson Gifford
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Renowned as one of the leading painters of the Hudson River School of landscape artists, Sanford Gifford was also a talented draftsman, as evidenced by this drawing of Santa Catarina, a centuries-old church built into the cliffs on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy. He fully exploited the pencil medium, using the point to outline the building's dramatic profile and the surrounding topography, and then making hatchings and rubbings to create the timeworn surfaces of the walls.
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
by Thomas Eakins
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The Philadelphia Realist painter Thomas Eakins executed exhibition watercolors during a brief period of his career. In this bird-hunting scene set in the marshes of southern New Jersey, he used dry, tightly controlled brushstrokes to model his central figure and more fluid washes for the landscape. While the subject matter and academic approach (including extensive preparatory studies) parallel his work in oil, the artist preferred watercolor for this sun-drenched picture because it allowed him...
Topics: art, American Art
Brooklyn Museum
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Khalwa (Arabic for “seclusion”) in a natural setting was required of all dervishes, who might spend up to forty days in isolation as part of the requirements of the Path. In the outdoor gathering depicted here, the tall hat worn by some members of the group identifies them as Sufis. It is distinguished by its vertical grooves, which typically number twelve, referencing the twelve imams believed by Shica Muslims to be the rightful successors to the prophet Muhammad. Variations on the hat...
Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
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Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World
Brooklyn Museum
by Kinoshita Tomio
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Topic: art
Brooklyn Museum
by Yi Chong
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The sixteenth-century ink-wash painting, a type rarely found outside Korean collections, uses strong, deliberate brushwork to convey ideas of space and perspective. Yi Chong, a Buddhist monk who came from a renowned family of artists, was a respected court painted during his short life. His work was heavily influenced by the Chinese tradition of the scholar-artist. The style of this painting invokes the Zhe School of Ming dynasty China, and the subject alludes to a poem by the Chinese poet Li...
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Topics: art, Asian Art
The Shahnama (Book of Kings) is the Iranian national epic, stemming from oral tradition and put to verse circa 1000 by the poet Abu'l Qasim Firdawsi of Tus. It describes the legendary lives of the kings of Iran from creation to the Arab conquest of the country between the 630s and the 650s. Over the centuries that followed its composition, the tales of the Shahnama had become widely popular; by the early fourteenth century, Shahnama manuscripts had become one of the principal vehicles for...
Topics: art, Arts of the Islamic World